This new venture will refurbish and rebrand the current Hippodrome poker room and PokerStars plan to introduce live poker events to its more than 50 million members.
Guy Templer, group strategy director for PokerStars, said, “The Hippodrome has dramatically raised the quality bar for the UK casino industry.
“So together we will give poker players the same great poker experience, live 24/7 in the heart of London that they get from PokerStars online. We are looking forward to unveiling some great new live events for the UK poker market in 2013.”
The Hippodrome Casino will also be launching a new online casino website that will be powered by Microgaming casino software.
The acquisition is PokerStars’ first “public” investment in a land based gaming venue but not the first time that the online poker company has attempted to go into live gaming. Only a month before last year’s Black Friday indictments, PokerStars were in advanced talks with Wynn Resorts for a possible joint venture with the casino giant. Those talks were ceased for obvious legal reasons and may have also been the motivation for the US DoJ to step in when they did.
You can expect PokerStars to make similar investments in land based gaming venues, perhaps even in North America, given the company’s incredible online reach which can sell out poker events.